London Larder was devised in 2012 to bring you the ultimate eating and drinking guide to London. It was borne out of a need for up-to-date, quantitative and whole-heartedly recommended places to eat and drink.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Kua ‘Aina


It’s fair to say that winter in Britain is rubbish. Our summers aren’t much kop either, for that matter. In this climate, we need to get sunny vibes from wherever we can and at least pretend it’s not grey and wet outside. Having tolerated all the cold weather we have been able to manage this winter, we took a trip to Kua ‘Aina (Soho’s premier Hawaiian burger experts) and imagined we were hanging out in a Pacific surfers paradise. What is more, Kua ‘Aina’s reputation as being the home of Barack Obama’s favourite burgers in his home state had got us excited.

The brand, Kua ‘Aina started on the north shores of Hawaii in 1975 and has now migrated as far as Tokyo and London - Soho. Hidden away behind Carnaby Street on Foubert’s Place, the venue is tiny, with a handful of seats upstairs and barely a few more downstairs. Wooden flooring and walls ornamented with surfboards and tropical artwork transport you far away from central London’s back streets and for an hour you can imagine you are in the original Kua ‘Aina, thousands of miles away with the surf lapping at your toes, sun on your skin and a cold beer in hand.

Beers are a treat here, with Kona craft beer imported from Hawaii and giving a far more authentic experience than the average run of the mill lager. We tried the Fire Rock pale ale, a strong malty brew with a dry, bitter taste. Burgers are the real specialty here however, coming in either 1/3 lb. or ½ lb. versions, but it’s the optional extras that really bring out the best in the meat. We opted for a ½ lb. burger with pineapple and Monterey Jack cheese (a suitably tropical combination). The beef was thick cut and clearly a great quality, cooked until it was deliciously pink and juicy in the middle. Just how we like it. The added sweetness of the pineapple and richness of the melted cheese made this one of the greatest burgers we’ve had in London, putting it in the very top category of gourmet burgers.
It’s not just about the burgers here though. We also got our teeth into an Ahi tuna and avocado sandwich with another layering of Monterey Jack cheese: a combination delicious enough to elicit multiple groans of delight. Huge slices of avocado and a thick steak of grilled tuna with a pink middle held between fresh rye bread made for a truly mouth-watering combination. One large portion of hand cut sweet potato chips was enough to accompany both meals and left us completely satisfied (…well almost – we could have eaten it all again).

The only aspect of our visit which prevented Kua 'Aina getting full marks however, was the number of orders served up incorrectly to tables around us. Although our service was impeccable, we couldn’t help but notice the number of tables on either side of us having to send back their orders. As we discovered, it was certainly worth getting our waitress to run through our order after placing it.

All things considered however, Kua 'Aina is a top-rate burger restaurant and somewhere we would be delighted to go back to on multiple occasions. It’s authentically chilled and relaxed with high-quality comfort food and a genuine ray of sunshine.

26 Foubert’s Place, W1F 7PP

Average price for burger: £7.95
Bottle of craft beer: £4.50
Food/drink: 5/5
Service: 3/5
Value: 5/5


1 comment:

  1. Didn't know that there was a Hawaiian burger place in London. Must put it on my list to check out.